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One of the best dining experiences you can have are those that turn out to be unexpectedly delightful. Robarta was one of those instances. Admittedly, I jumped the gun when I saw the appearance of what looked a couple of tables thrown into a bar setting, as opposed to a proper restaurant setting. It was a classic situation of “don’t judge a book by its cover” or rather, don’t judge a restaurant by its appearance…
The interior. Definitely more bar than restaurant.
Our eating utensils. I think the last time I encountered chopsticks in a bar setting was overseas and was a little amused by this sight.
Much of Robarta’s menu is comprised of Asian tapas dishes that are perfect for sharing. Not to mention great-size accompaniments for a few drinks here and there.
Pork/prawn spring rolls - house made, a light Filo pastry filled with fresh ingredients and sweet chilli dipping sauce. (Vegetarian/chicken option also available)
As you can see here (and what I was surprised to see myself), there was no skimping on the prawns! And they were fresh to boot! Or at least they tasted quite fresh to me. The overall taste resulting from a perfect balance of flavour and prawn-to-pork-to-cabbage ratio was quite impressive for a “westernised” spring roll and probably just fell short of the authentic Vietnamese spring rolls.
Chicken & pork San Choi Bao - chicken and pork combined with shiitake mushrooms, Chinese wine, soy & oyster sauce, with lime zest, carrot, coriander and bean sprouts.
This dish was Mon’s choosing and I for one am glad that she picked it. I usually lose interest at the word San and don’t bother reading the rest. But after Mon voted to order it, I read the description and the list of ingredients wowed me. The actual product itself did not disappoint. While there were a lot of flavours floating around in the dish, they all complimented one another perfectly. Very Asian-flavoured and light.
Shanghai dumpling - minced pork, shiitake mushroom, Chinese cabbage, with soy & oyster sauce.
Yet another pleasant surprise. These dumplings were almost as delicious as the ones served at where I think serves Melbourne’s ultimate dumplings, Shanghai Village. The flavour and texture of the pork fillings were on par but the exterior wasn’t as crispy. Still enjoyable though!
Crispy skin chicken drummettes - chicken drummettes coated in [their] special spice mix and cooked to a crispy finish.
Four for four? Home run? Unfortunately no, the delicious streak ended here. The chicken was a bit too oily for our liking. And while the flavour wasn’t too bad, it also wasn’t anything to rave about. Given the extent of how much we had enjoyed the other dishes up until this point, we weren’t feeling to disappointed.
White chocolate panna cotta - a light, silky-smooth cream & white chocolate custard, with berries & sticky red wine syrup.
There’s no false advertising when they say light and silky smooth because its texture was what I’d picture a rich vanilla mousse to be. Think crème brûlée but a smidgen bit thicker and fluffier. The vanilla taste was very distinct but not too potent or too sweet. The sticky red wine syrup provided most of the sweetness for the dessert but the fresh fruits helped to balance it out.
Apple, mango and coconut crumble - stewed apple and mango topped with a golden coconut crumble, served with fresh cream.
This was definitely unlike any other crumble I had tried. Extra oomph was given to this dessert by the inclusion of mango and coconut. Fortunately for me, the coconut taste was quite subtle (I’m not the biggest fan of coconut) but still detectable. The crumble layer was very crisp and crunchy and provided a nice contrast to the very mooshy mix of fruits. The mango taste was often overpowered by the apple and only distinct in some bites.
All in all, Mon and myself walked out of Robarta with full stomachs and smiles on our faces. We were pleasantly wowed by how enjoyable our meals turned out and it really just goes to show how a restaurant’s decor is no reflection on how tasty their food is.
109 Fitzroy St,
St Kilda, Victoria, 3182
(03) 9534 9041